Three centuries of Good Friday tradition

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THERE are many locations around South Shields which are imbued with the spirit of the town’s past.

But you know, one of the most potent must be a spot that few venture on to now – the top of the steps which occupy the north side of the old Town Hall in the Market Place.

Politicians have stood there, ‘on the stump’, it’s witnessed riots, celebrations and, generally, has been a place where the town has been brought together at important times of peace and war.

One would have to qualify that by adding “until comparatively recently,” although there is still one event which brings it back into sharp focus.

It’s the annual Procession of Witness – now into its third century can you believe that? – which will again take place this Good Friday, bringing Sunday Schools etc together from around the town.

Here the date is nearly 50 years ago and crowds gathered in the square are being energetically led in communal hymn singing.

And what you have to realise about this scene, of course, is that this would have been just one small section of the much bigger crowd that would have gathered to take part.